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Mom to Faith Elizabeth

December 27, 2010

Upstate, New York

Five years ago I became pregnant with my second child.  My husband and I were beyond excited to grow our family and to see our 3 year old daughter, Julianna become a big sister.

My pregnancy progressed as normal and I will never forget this date.  August 31, 2010 was the big day!  The day we were scheduled for our 20 week ultrasound and we would find out if our baby was a girl or a boy! This day forever changed the lives of myself, and my husband and daughter.

That day we learned that our unborn baby had a rare and fatal condition called anencephaly.  This happens early in the pregnancy and it’s a condition that causes the bones of the baby’s skull to never fully close, which exposes the brain.  Our baby had a severe case and was missing skull from the eyebrows upwards.We immediately had a second opinion at the hospital and the diagnosis was confirmed. I remember being so completely in shock.

We were offered the option of terminating the pregnancy.  And in many ways it almost sounded appealing because I couldn’t at that point imagine going another 20 weeks of pregnancy not knowing if the baby would die in utero or how long after birth.  I didn’t think I would have the strength to carry to term.

My husband Dan and I prayed and talked, and cried a lot.  We decided that every baby is a gift from God and we love our child no matter how long or short their life was; something we deep down felt all along but in this situation we were pushed to the limits.

A few weeks later, we had another ultrasound and found out we were having a girl and we named her Faith Elizabeth.

We were able to pick a day at 39 weeks to have our planned c-section.

Knowing that she wouldn’t live long, we simultaneously had to plan for her birth and her death.  It seemed so absurd to have to do both, but by the grace of God, we planned.

On December 27, 2010, our daughter Faith Elizabeth was born.  Despite the doctors saying she would be deaf, blind, mute, and unconscious, she was alive, alert, awake, and she looked at us and responded, and made wonderfully cute baby noises!

She lived for 18 hours and she met her big sister and grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends that day.  She was loved every single minute of her life and she blessed us enormously.

Faith Elizabeth is my daughter. My second born child.  She lived and she mattered and still matters to so many people.  We are forever changed having met her and we live differently and love deeper because we know what it’s like to live without her.  We miss her so very much and we are learning every day to live with her in our hearts and not in our lives.

Like I am the face of infant loss, so is my husband and my living children who are now the faces of sibling loss.

It’s hard to tell this story and to relay all of my emotions. It feels like trying to sum up my daughter’s life in a paragraph and that’s just not possible.  Faith Elizabeth changed my life. She continues to change my life every day.

It has taken a long time for me to travel through grief and I feel like it still hits me hard sometimes.  Five years later, we have had two more children after Faith.  They know they have another older sister and they see her pictures.
I am forever a momma to four children, I just was only able to keep three here with me.  But my momma heart knows…

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  1. This is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your daughter, faith Elizabeth, with us.

  2. maria delaro says:

    Wow, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes that is the sweetest most loving statement I have ever read. She’s so lucky to have you as her mom and she’s waiting for you on the other side, you will be together again someday!

  3. So sorry to hear “hugs hugs “

  4. I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Such a sweet & touching story. You and your family are in my thoughts…..hugs & strength to you all

  6. I lost my beautiful daughter Niamh when she was one day old, it’s so painful and I miss her so much.
    You will always be a mum of four xx

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss Jennifer

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